The older we get, the more we begin to realise how crucial it is to take care of ourselves. A lot of people go on with their lives thinking that kindness is only something you give to other people, and we neglect ourselves in that process. We think about others before we think of ourselves, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not always the best thing for us.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking self-care is selfish in the sense that if we put ourselves before others, then we fail as compassionate human beings. But we should love ourselves. Our bodies are our palaces. Our minds are our homes. Our dreams are important and our needs matter. It’s important to practise self-care every day and show ourselves the same kindness we show our friends. And it can be as simple as doing the following:
Do the things you’ve always wanted to do
Almost everyone has something they wanted to do as a child or something they never got to learn. As the years pass, it’s easier to think your time to learn new skills has passed too. But that’s not the case at all. Learn to swim. Ride a bike in the park. Buy art supplies and create. Start writing that novel. Learn how to play the guitar. Get a skateboard. It’s never too late.
Be a child again and play
Instead of meeting your friends in a coffee shop, why not gather them in a park next time for a game of tag? Climb trees. Play silly board games aimed at children. Go rock climbing or head down to a theme park. Do finger painting.
Take a mental health day and don’t feel guilty about it
If you don’t second guess taking a day off for the sniffles, then why should you feel guilty for taking a day off to relieve some stress and get some space? A lot of people don’t think that stress is a good enough to reason to take some time off, but your mental well-being is just as important as your physical well-being. There are a lot more people who feel the way you feel than you realise.
Go for a walk and notice the details of things
Sunny or cold, grab your keys and go for a stroll and just explore the area. Go down little alleys and walk through parks. Study the nature you pass, acknowledge the people you make eye contact with, have a wander into that coffee place you’ve always gone past but never went into. Pick leaves and notice the veins running through them. Everything is beautiful; all you have to do is stop and look at it.
Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself
Sometimes we feel bad for not hanging out with certain people who we have differences with, but you have to remember we don’t owe our time, energy, or ourselves to anyone. Don’t feel guilty for protecting yourself from people who drain you. Chill out with people who make you feel loved and supported, people who make you laugh and teach you things.
Create or find a cosy, safe space and drink some tea
Build a fort in your room, cosy up with your furry pet or some pillows, and drink your favourite tea. Turn your bedroom into the ultimate snuggle-zone. Buy lots of random cheap pillows and string up some fairy lights. Light candles and watch your favourite episodes from random TV shows. Read poetry until you fall asleep.
Turn off your phone, close your eyes, and pay attention to the sounds you hear
The world is constantly buzzing with endless ways to stay mentally stimulated to the point where we end up feeling a bit numb. Look at everything we have, yet we have moments where we feel so empty and bored. That’s when you need to take a step back and notice the little things, appreciate the details. Shut off your phone and put it away. Spend some time with your thoughts. Breathe and pay attention to the process.
Words: Saima Khalid
Hashtags: #selfcare #mentalhealth